BCS championship: Who's really the best team in college football?
But is the Crimson Tide really the best team in college football?
Alabama and LSU finished with one loss each, with the Tigers beating the Crimson Tide, 9-6, in overtime during the regular season. That win clearly wasn't as dominant as the one Alabama claimed Monday night in the title game, but technically the season series between the two teams is tied.
That may be why one AP writer saw fit to cast his No. 1 vote for LSU, which finished second in both polls. The USA Today poll is is contractually bound to name the BCS winner its national champion; the AP poll is not.
Then there's Oklahoma State, which finished third in both polls with four first-place AP votes. The Cowboys also finished with only one loss and never got the chance to place either LSU or Alabama. Many people felt OSU deserved Alabama's spot in the title game since the Crimson Tide already had its shot at the Tigers and lost. Instead, the Cowboys beat Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl, 41-38.
Oregon and Arkansas, a pair of two-loss teams, rounded out the top five of both polls. Both teams lost to LSU, and Arkansas' other defeat came at the hands of Alabama.
The Ducks' other loss was to USC, which finished sixth in AP voting but was not eligible for the USA Today poll due to NCAA probation. The 10-2 Trojans lost to Arizona State and Stanford but were playing as well as anyone by the end of the season.
So with no playoff system in place, there's plenty of room for debate. Who do you think is the best team in college football? Vote in the poll, then leave a comment explaining why you voted the way you did.
-- Chuck Schilken
Photo: Alabama Coach Nick Saban holds the Coaches Trophy after the Crimson Tide beat LSU in the BCS championship game Monday night. Credit: Jonathan Bachman / Cal Sport Media